The Promise to Love

blog -loveIt is a new year, and for many it signifies a clean slate, a fresh start and hence new year resolutions are all over the place.

For the few new year resolutions I’ve seen and heard, it has been somewhat inspiring. However this year I’ve not really sat down to think about a list of resolutions because as I grow I’m learning to go with the flow.

May sound somewhat reckless but I’ve quickly learned to trust more in what God has in store for my life than what I have in store for myself and as a result, I learn to relax more knowing that I’m in his will for my life.

That being said I do have one quote that keeps ringing at the back of my mind since I started praying and seeking God’s heart for this new year and that is –

To love my neighbour as myself

It sounds so simple but the more I think about it, it is much more than meets the eye. Growing up as a Christian I have been taught this time and time again and only recently am I beginning to understand how important it is to God that we imbibe in us this willingness to truly open up our hearts and minds to love.

Now before this, did I not love my neighbours (i.e those around me)? and this leads me to question what exactly God meant by loving my neighbours as myself; because honestly with the amount of gravity placed on the idea of what ‘love’ is, it’s safe to think that saying I love a random person who is not somewhat close to me is a bit too much.

There are so many definitions of love out there. Some have described it as a feeling/emotion of some sort, some have described it as a choice, some have described it to be certain actions taken, and some have even placed love in different categories. All these descriptions may well be right and while I’m not here to knock any of them down, I’m beginning to understand that it is more important to learn about love by purposefully immersing our lives in it rather than decoding the meaning.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.

Above, is a very famous scripture and chapter in the bible  that shows that love is not narrowed down to being just an action, a feeling  or a choice; its so much more that one may even infer that it transcends the physical.

So this year since I don’t have any list of resolutions as such (although I have a bucket list that is not stringent), I have decided to dedicate my life into truly loving people the best way I know how while learning even more about it, to not become complacent in the process and to continue in it even after 2016; in hopes that I am one step closer to God’s will and purpose for my life.

I’d love to hear your resolutions for this year if you don’t mind sharing and if you don’t have any, feel free to jump on the wagon with me… I think it’s simple but not the easiest, but remember God’s grace abounds.

 

Love and blessings….

Knowing Myself

When you go through the waters, I will be with you

When you go through the waters, I will be with you

I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. We are in a world where we are constantly figuring out who we really are, either as individuals, as a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, a wife, a husband, a friend or even as a unit.

With consistently changing circumstances, we are forced to redefine our priorities, our likes and dislikes, and how to respond to these circumstances in a way we believe will yield the best possible outcomes not just for ourselves but also for the world we live in.

To be honest it can be hard sometimes; because the thing with constantly evolving is that we may find ourselves trying to play catch up while at the same time trying to grasp on to the very things we tie our identities to.

I for one have had to go through heavy transition phases within the past year and it required a lot of adjusting, re-prioritizing, and adapting to leading life in a different way; and in the heat of it all, I became worried that I was now only going through the motions but at the same time, missing a vital part of the equation… myself.

As a result, I realised quickly the importance of re-evaluating my deepest values, desires and goals in life- the things in general that make me- me; so that I don’t loose sight of what they are and what they mean to me.

Someone told me recently that as I grow older, I am entrusted with more responsibilities especially as a result of the roles I take on as life progresses. So the question is how do I juggle it all and at the same time consistently remain true to myself.

To be honest? I’m still figuring it out.

I will however leave you with a few pointers that has been helping me so far. I’ve had to learn to purposefully relax and trust that with time, things will fall into place.

As a Christian I believe it when the bible says that – “All things will work together for the good of those that Love God and are called according to his purpose”. I also bank on the verse where God promises us that “He will never leave us nor forsake us”. So I have to trust that a lot of the times when I have not got myself altogether, God has got me.

I could sit here and give keys and pointers concerning how to be true to yourself and know yourself but I really can’t because everyone’s journey is unique.  We have to all remember that as human beings we are dynamic and are constantly being affected and changed either subtly or significantly by the environments we live in, the events that happen in and around our lives, and time.

I am beginning to understand that God is and needs to be at the centre of my life. His love for me especially through his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, gives me the peace and assurance that I don’t have to figure this thing called life on my own; because He is always with me. So I urge you all today to dare to make him the priority in your life and you may well be on your way to figuring out who your creator has made you to be.

 

Love and Blessings…

God is For You

support-handsSometimes we are not sure our stand with God. Especially if you feel like you’ve not been on your best behaviour or you could have done something better or treated someone better. You sometimes think why can’t I get this whole Christian thing right? I’m up today and I’m down tomorrow… its like the moment I take two steps forward, the next time I’m taking three steps backwards. Yep annoying and sometimes it makes you not want to make the effort so you decide you know what I’m not just good enough; and subconsciously it begins to affect the confidence you have on God’s love for you. I’m not just speaking out of some abstract knowledge this is me a lot of the time.

But I realised something that I’d thought would be helpful to you all. Something that keeps me going, not give up easily both in my stellar times and in my not so stellar times is that God is for me and on my side and his love for me is consistent. May sound cliché but you’ll be surprised how many people struggle to believe this ALL the time, myself included.

You see sometimes leading this Christian life in a world that dictates we do otherwise can be truly difficult; especially when a lot of “things” the bible clearly discourages are deemed as normal and the idea that “everyone” engages in it may lightens the burden that we may be wrong. So sometimes we are tempted to relax on certain lifestyles in bid to be more accepting or to just fit in after-all as Christians we need to “fit in” to be able to reach and touch lives? well I don’t know about that. The point however I’m trying to make is that we need to stop looking outside and using it as a benchmark of how we lead our lives.

We need to look inwards and see what God is convicting you of as person and use that as a yardstick for your life.

I’m learning lately that every Christian do not have the same path here on earth. So we can’t even look at other Christians and use it as a sole compass to direct our ship. Because to be honest you may end up feeling either inadequate or yet still better than some others. And before you know it you miss the point.

Another thing is for you to remember that God’s love for you is not to be judged by how you feel about that idea. Don’t reduce God’s love for you to just feelings and then make it a give and take sort of game. God is not trying to play ping pong with your heart so stop doing that to yourself. He doesn’t stop and never stops loving you… end of! Contrary to a lot of thought He is not trying to catch you out if anything He is trying to pull you in closer.

So whenever you fall short, sincerely ask for forgiveness and the grace to be and do better. And if the enemy tries to whisper to you that you’re not deserving of God’s love, you catch that thought and speak out to yourself that it is a lie and God is for you and you may not be where you want to be but you’re not where you used to be.

One last thing always remember especially when you’re in difficult times that those times always pass regardless. And KEEP PRAYING because those difficult times can be our most vulnerable of times and hence the need to hold even more tightly to the only one from whom we can draw strength. Speaking from experience He truly does become our strength in times of weakness. Don’t get me wrong you may be mad at God for letting you have such difficulties and it’s ok for a while but don’t stay mad because you give the devil an upper hand over your life. You tell God to help you not be mad at him and give you the grace to hold on to him tightly and He will.

God doesn’t want us running away from Him or seeing him as the not so good God. He is very keen to always be on your side and have you on his side so you can lead the fulfilled life he’s called you into please let Him.

Love and Blessings…

Trust Issues

Last year in 2014, I decided to take up swimming lessons; although I previously had a few of my friends try to teach me but I was too terrified of sinking/drowning. As you can imagine I was scared and excited at the same time.

Anyways so I and my friend signed up and thankfully by the end of the 10 week course I did learn how to swim. But there was a problem. I would only swim only by the sides of the pool because I could hold on to the walls should I get scared. However when I had my friends around I find my fears were not as heightened and I would take full advantage of the pool. Have in mind that I only swam at the university’s gym pool at the time and there were life guards consistently on standby; but I wouldn’t dare swim in the middle of the pool or even try new tricks if I didn’t have a friend with me that day.

I had trust issues and quickly understood it was a knowledge thing. I didn’t trust the life guards- not because I doubted their skills but because I did not know them as individuals to trust my life in their hands. You see, because I ‘knew’ my friends I was able to have a higher trust level that they would help should something go wrong while I was swimming.

I realized quickly that is was a similar situation when it comes to truly trusting God. We hear about how all powerful and mighty God is; some of us might even sing about it every now and then. But when we are actually faced with situations where this trust on God’s al-mightiness is required, we gravely fall short- well I gravely fall short.

God helped me to understand that just like my trust level for different individuals varied based on my knowledge of them, so it is with Him. And to fully trust Him, I must give myself to truly knowing Him.

Part of Daniels 11:32 reads- “but those that KNOW their God, shall be strong and do exploits”

I used to settle for just the teachings I had at church and not really dedicate time to understanding or at least try to understand something about my creator. In truly knowing someone, there has to be at least some form of relationship existing between both parties. Yet many Christians although we claim to have a relationship with God don’t actually do. If you read the bible daily mostly to tick off the box of necessary Christian duties of the day or you pray to God and don’t wait to actually hear if He’s speaking back or you go to church or give to charity because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do, then I’m afraid to say it’s more of a religion than a relationship here.

I learned that you still carry out the aforementioned practices while in a relationship with God but the difference is- WHY you do them. Having a relationship with God I find, makes these practises more the acts of love and devotion than acts of religion.

Some of the benefits I see in my life because of my growing knowledge of God through my relationship with him are; being very much assured of my salvation; not feeling guilty should I happen to miss church one Sunday; learning that God is not set on catching me out and judging me should I slip up but is more of a loving father that is ever so gracious especially in times of our weakness.  Also learning that as a father loves his child and willing to do favors for him/her so is God with his own.

He is always willing to help out in the littlest of ways should you ask him; and more recently I learnt that since God is for and with me, I have an edge over the powers of darkness and when I am faced with life’s challenges it wouldn’t be the end of me.

One last scripture I’d love to leave you all with is Jeremiah 29:13- “You will SEEK Me and FIND Me when you SEARCH for me with ALL YOUR HEART”

Trust is built with time and we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to truly know God day in day out even if its in the littlest of way…. It really does help with your trust issues I can testify to that.

Love and Blessings….

People won’t always be there for you but…

Ever had those moments when you really need to talk to someone because you are having such an overwhelming experience be it happy or sad ( most especially) and no one seem to be with their phone or available at the time? When I say no one, I don’t just mean anyone but those we regard as our nearest and blog pcture (expectations)dearest.   Then they call back, text back or become available when you’re probably done crying and don’t want to start crying again or when the euphoria of it all has died down abit and the high is not there for you to really shout in their ears as much you really wanted to? Yep! been there done that!

For me it was frustrating when I’m upset or emotional and need someone to talk some sense into me or comfort me; and they are not available at the exact time I need them to be. Don’t get me wrong I do consider myself blessed with such amazing friends and family and they have been great. But the thing is none of them (myself included) are omnipresent. Yes and no one can actually fill those shoes except for God.

I had to learn the hard way that no matter how much we try and we’d like it to be that way, we can’t make people always be there for us and we can’t always be there for people. You see I’m Christian and all for putting God as first and the centre of my life as is my prayer; but I never really actively practised it especially during my down times. I mean everyone remembers to thank God when they get a break and are having such a pleasant moment; but not everyone stops to pray/ talk to God FIRST when they are hit with life challenges. If you’re anything like me it’s after you’ve probably complained about it and talked about it to loved ones before you actually consider praying about it. And a lot of the time it is not done in that order intentionally.

You see it wasn’t after I had been disappointed time and time again did I realise that I needed to stop trying to fill God’s place in my life with people. There are great people in this life but people are people and the only perfect being we have the privilege of knowing and having a relationship with it and who will always… always be there for us, is God (Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit). I had to come to learn that instead of placing excessively high expectations on people, I should turn that hope and expectation towards Jesus. The Lord has blessed us with the Holy Spirit who has been described as being the greatest comforter, being able to teach us all things, as Love etc. and a lot of the time we need to genuinely believe that for ourselves in order to fully take advantage of what we have.

Now remember no man is created an island and we are created as a community on purpose; and this is not a post to downplay its importance. Rather the message I’m trying to relay is how about God actually be first in your life. How about He be the one in whom you find satisfaction, contentment and comfort; how about He be involved in our lives as much as our loved ones are; How about He actually be God in your life. Speaking from experience it will actually salvage relationships in your life because you’re learning to place your peace and joy on God and not on people.

For me it is a continuous learning curve with this one, and a lot of the time I am prompted even by people if I have actually prayed about the situation before speaking to them about it. And I’m learning to see for myself that every little variable in my life matters as much to God as much it does to me. God is not just interested in the big things but also in the small things and allowing Him get involved helps us to truly realise that we are never alone, and He never leaves nor forsakes His own.

 

Love and Blessings…

Does having Faith mean denying Reality?

Holding-on; having faith blog

God blesses those who realise their need for Him

I have been a Christian for a substantial amount of time yet I’m still trying to grasp unto the idea of what Faith or having faith really means. Growing up in a Christian fold, I have been taught on different ways to exercise my faith, what having faith can do for me and what I can do with my Faith.

Despite my “faith saturated” environment I still managed to be a ‘semi-realist’. And although I consider myself quite an optimistic individual if there’s an actual problem at hand I very well acknowledge it and do not pretend it’s not there. Take for example- I know people who when they are ill and visibly so, and are asked how they were doing will respond with “I am well”. Some may go as far as to even add “in Jesus name” at the end of that statement- reason being they are confessing the faith they have that they will be fine. Now I’m not against any of that and the bible does tell us how powerful our tongues are and even further teaches us that by our words we are either acquitted or condemned.

Nonetheless I was never satisfied with the idea that having faith meant denying reality. So I talked to God and studied about it because I didn’t want to think I was missing out on something; and this is what I came to understand (by God’s grace).

According to Hebrews 11:1 (nkjv);” Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”. I actually prefer the NLT version which lays it out as – “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see”.

In order for one to have and exercise their faith, there is first a need to. God helped me to understand that pretending the problem is not there or refusing to acknowledge whatever our circumstances are is not what he is calling us to do. I may even go as far as saying accepting there is a problem is key; although need I point out that acceptance may not necessarily translate to being happy with the current situation. I was reminded of the verse Matthew 5:3 which says “God blesses those who are poor and realise their need for him for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”. Another verse that caught my attention is “God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness”.

I learned that I needed to realise my need for God in order to actually exercise my faith in Him. In other words if I am in trouble I need to acknowledge and accept it and then go ahead to find a solution. We have a God who has so graciously made himself available to us as our helper, our guide, our protector etc. now this will not be necessary if we lived in utopia. God very well acknowledged that we live in a fallen world where wars, sickness, and death are the order of the day so we gave us access to his life giving grace through his son Jesus Christ.

So Faith does not necessarily mean we make light of reality; if anything, having Faith enables us the opportunity to truly cast our cares on Jesus because He truly does care for us  (especially by giving us the priviledge of Himself) .

Again like I earlier highlighted I’m still growing and learning about the concept of Faith so feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you have come to learn about Faith.

 

Love and Blessings…

Fight for Your Peace

peaceful blogSo I woke up one morning, trying to figure out how my day would progress while trying to get ready and all. Then I started to feel this heaviness and I felt my attitude was turning towards a direction that I didn’t want it to go. Funny thing was, I had no reason to feel the way I felt and I knew if I didn’t watch it, my day would turn sour. I started realising that lately at the time it had been a hassle to keep my peace so that morning I decided to play a sermon by Joyce Meyer to distract me while I continued getting ready. Funny thing was the broadcast was about fighting for your peace and one of the ways she suggested we do that is starting your day expecting something good to happen. She also suggested we start our day saying out loud “this is the day that the lord has made and I will be glad and rejoice in it”.

Well later on that morning I went ahead to study Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus was teaching about not worrying for our basic day to day needs but what especially caught my attention was verse 34 (MSG); “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time come”.

From that scripture I was reminded how easily I lost my peace and joy because I kept trying to figure out what will happen tomorrow and how I may be able to control the outcome (I am not God so I don’t know why I even try); and the more thought I would put into it the more I started to worry about things that may or may not happen. I also realised that I had started psyching myself to not expect my day to go the way I hoped so as not to get disappointed hence my occasional sour mood; and I came to realise that mindset is a twisted perspective that will make you lose your hope.

Joyce Meyer said something that morning that resonated with me. She said if we are worried about something happening or not happening, chances are it may well happen or not happen; so what’s the use of getting yourself worked up- up until the time it does or does not happen. Instead give yourself the gift of a positive mindset, not allowing yourself to lose your joy and peace because it should in the first place not be based on your circumstances but on Jesus Christ the prince of peace.

I know it’s easier said than done because even the devil will not be at rest until we lose our hope, our peace and our joy. He plants thoughts in our hearts that if we are not careful would make us start getting agitated over nothing and that’s why scriptures instructs us to cast down imaginations, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). The book of Psalms goes further to tell us to “search for peace and work to maintain it”.

It is a continuous effort to maintain our peace and joy but by the grace of God it is possible because His strength is perfected in our weaknesses. Some of the ways I find works for me is continously giving my self to God’s word, through bible study and sermons, church fellowship, talking to friends/ family especially  those in the faith, confessing positive thoughts also helps.

There are obviously a host of things that can cause us to lose our peace such as sin, strife, pending obedience (disobedience), etc. and we have to also be sensitive enough and ask God what exactly it is that is making us lose our peace; and Him being a good God would always show us if we listen closely/ honestly enough. His thoughts for us as thoughts of peace and not of evil to give us a future and a hope and as we set out to fight for our peace we have to also trust that God himself is in this fight with us.

 

Love and blessings…